Today we feature Veera Bianca, one of the most prominent and popular blogger in Finland. Veera Bianca is a passionate storyteller with an urge to roam the globe. She spends her time on the road searching for nice hotels, hipster cafes & healthy food. Her blog is a place for all women with wanderlust and love for all things fabulous.
Personally, I am fond of Veera because of her personal resilience and uncanny ability to make the best out of everything. Also, even though she insists that she is “not very Finnish-like”, I do deeply appreciate that she stuck to her word of having this interview with us, in spite of being super busy! This shows her heart and priorities.
I thought this efficiency was super admirable, instead of certain Finns who PROMISE THE WORLD with 2-3 months lead time and then simply never deliver…at all. (Then why consent on black and white, LOL! -roll eyes-) So there you go, another clear stereotype about Finns “always keeping their word” which affects foreigners’ expectations. Not always true, bro!
Enjoy the interview! ♡ I’d recommend everyone to check out Veera’s blog or follow her on instagram @veerabianca. Her instagram is a magnificent gallery which makes you want to travel the world with her. 😉
TH: Hello Veera! Kiitos for accepting our interview. Can you tell us more about yourself?
Veera: Hey there! Sure, thank you WW for having me!
I am a 28-year-old travel blogger and social media consultant, calling my suitcase my home. My love for travel started more than ten years ago in Australia, and life hasn’t been the same since. I’ve dedicated my life for travel and for the travel industry.
I am very passionate about my job, and am doing my best building my own empires, haha.
TH: Building own empires is totally awesome zomg!! Progressing one step at a time with your lovely blog I’m sure~ Can you tell us more about your blog?
Veera: Thank you so much for your kind words!
I started the blog also in Australia, eight years ago, to share about the experience with family and friends.
At first, the blog was called Running With Wild Horses, as I was living on a horse farm in Australia.
But within the years it became my life, to be honest.
I started to study tourism and wrote about my studies, then moved to Hong Kong and started to write more and more about Asia.
Then in 2013 as the blog was awarded as the Best Asia Blog in Finland, I realised it could perhaps be more than just a hobby. Now the blog has become a major part of my job, allowing me to travel the world more than I ever dreamed of.
The blog focuses on sharing valuable experiences, nice hotels, trendy cafes and healthy food around the world.
TH: Related to tourism and hospitality, it seems like Finns don’t smile unless there is a good reason to.
For instance, the “naama peruslukemilla” of Finnish people are sometimes “frowny”, “curt” and might come across as intimidating. Some Finns even have what we colloquially term the “resting bitch face”.
Veera:…Haha – I rarely smile because I don’t like how it makes my cheeks look ;D
TH: Mitä Vi–I mean–Mitä!? LOLOLOL~ What a reason!
TH: Back to the question…What do you think about Finnish hospitality and service?
Veera: Oh dear… I’ve spent a lot of time in Asia.
And the hospitality in most good hotels is out of this world, for instance in cities like Bangkok, Hong Kong or Ho Chi Minh City. I dream of the day we learn to do hospitality with such passion and dedication.
Good customer service is a face-lift to any hotel!
But still, what I like about our service culture is that while it may not be the smiliest, you usually always get what you need and there is always someone to help you with what you need in a hotel or a shop.
It’s way easier to get a phone plan here than for example in Australia, though back in down under the service may be smilier!
TH: Can you tell us the top 3 things/ traits you regard as “Finnish”, and why?
Veera: Finnish people are…
- always on time;
- skip the small-talk; and
- appreciate the importance of their free time.
That’s three that come to mind at first at least!
From travelling the world the past years, I suck at each of those.
I’m always late, always chatting, and always working 😀
TH: Can you tell us the top 3 things/ traits that you would definitely not regard as “Finnish”, and why?
Veera: Finnish people are never…
- overly proud of their accomplishments;
- disorganised; or
- having dinner after 10pm! 😀
In Finland we are taught at an early age that we should not eat after 6pm, as it may be unhealthy. So we take that and live with it throughout our lives and many families have dinner at 6pm. I am not like that though– I usually dine around 9 or 10 too, but especially older Finnish people find it crazy haha!
TH: What is the one misconception foreigners tend to have about Finland that you feel that are far from the truth?
Veera: Many think Finns are cold and reserved, which is understandable.
But there’s so much more than meets the eye.
Finns might not be as easy to get to know as many other nationalities, but once you get to know a Finn, you’ll truly have a friend for life.
We never bullshit, if we like you, we’ll let you know! 🙂
TH: Can you share with us some of the most memorable experiences you have had while travelling? These could be funny, strange, awkward or out-of-the-world experiences.
Veera: Oh my, always the most difficult question – but also always the one that makes me remember how the magic is in the smallest things.
One memorable experience was the time I was sitting on a beach in Portugal, at a place called ‘the end of the world’ while the sun was setting. Out of the blue, this stray dog approached me, and just sat right next to me on the sand. I hugged its sun-touched fur, and we spent probably an hour just sitting there together.
This might sound random, but it was a meaningful moment to me – and I remember thinking how strange my life was. Here I am, on a faraway surf-beach far from home, holding onto this random dog who just appeared out of nowhere.
But to share perhaps a more meaningful memory was the time I was looking at the night skyline of Shanghai with someone I used to love, and we hadn’t seen each other for a long time.
And trust me, you truly haven’t lived before you’ve seen the lights of Shanghai by night.
TH: Couldn’t agree more! There’s always something romantic, fleeting yet nostalgic about the lights of Shanghai at night. Can you now tell us more about the role of social media in Finland, especially in driving change?
Veera: Social media has given each individual the opportunity to empower change. And that’s what’s so great about it.
We should remember to look at social media for the opportunities it has to offer, and not only the negatives. Social media is a tool which has given us all the chance to stay connected, and to network.
I hate how some people complain about teenagers being anti-social on their phones in public transportation or streets, when social is exactly what they are being, even if it’s through their mobile.
To me, the power of social media was especially proved this week as I was a victim of identity theft, which I had to battle for two months.
The case was solved in 12 hours after I posted on Facebook. I appreciate that very much because I could finally move forward instead of calling back and forth in frustration with different authorities.
TH: What is your impression of the Finnish media?
Veera: Oh my…After what I’ve been through this week, I’m thankful for the Finnish media for sure!
But what makes the Finnish media interesting is its audience. Finnish people in general believe every word they read in the mainstream media, which gives the local press incredible power.
This year the refugee crisis has been one of the hottest topics in the media, and I wish our media would understand the impact of each posted article on the way our nation thinks and sees the situation.
Today, we’ve had 4 or 5 demonstrations on the streets of Helsinki for all the events related to it, and the increase of racism in the country.
And I know our media would have the power to at least lessen racist behaviour in Finland.
TH: That’s really well put. What do you think is the best part about being a Finnish travel blogger?
Veera: The benefit of blogging in Finland is that the country is small, and we tend to run a couple of years behind of Sweden when it comes to blogging.
That can easily be used as an advantage, as I can now look at what the Swedish blogging industry is doing, and be ahead of the game.
TH: What is your biggest wish for the PR/ blogging/ social media scene in Finland?
Veera: People should be bolder in their actions when it comes to PR!
We should have the guts to go a bit over the top in whatever we are doing!
And what comes to blogging, especially in travel, we need to find ways to add more personality to what we do, and more soul.
TH: What is the one 100 year-old birthday wish you would make for Finland, since 2017 Finland’s 100 years of independence?
Veera: I wish for us to become more open for the idea of immigration. I wish that we don’t need to kill a man before the politicians see that there is a problem.
Last weekend I met a girl who had moved here from Bangladesh, and it was sad to hear how scared she said she feels walking alone at night because of the racist comments.
100 years of independence should not mean ignorance.
TH: Many thanks to your time today, Veera. OKAY TIME FOR US TO SLEEP!
Veera: YEA! Hugsies and good night!!
It was truly a huge honour having Veera Bianca with us. We hope you have enjoyed this interview as much as we did!
The Hieno! is the official partner of the Finland 100 independence programme: What is “Finnish-ness”? endorsed by the Prime Minister’s Office. Feel free to follow Veera on her website, instagram @veerabianca or on twitter @veerabianca. Photographs courtesy of Veera and Unsplash. 🙂